A group of local clerics have urged the Somaliland government to apply the Islamic Sharia without any further delay and stop promoting the country as a secular state.
HARGEISA, 10 Oct. 2006--In a development that duplicates the rise of Islamic Courts in Mogadishu, a group of local clerics have urged the Somaliland government to apply the Islamic Sharia without any further delay and stop promoting the country as a secular state.
In two separate but similar statements signed by 43 clerics, 13 from the capital Hargeisa and 30 from the second largest city Buroa, the clerics demanded the government to withdraw a statement by the Foreign Minister in which he stated that Somaliland followed a secular constitution.
“We demand the government to give an official apology about the Foreign Minister’s statement to the BBC in which he said that Somaliland followed a secular, or irreligious, constitution,” said the statement issued in Buroa.
It also demanded that the country’s judiciary should be an independent body based on Islamic Sharia and all laws that contradicted the Sharia should be revoked.
The Buroa statement also warned the media against spreading anti-Islamic propaganda. The Hargeisa clerics also called upon the government and the public to refrain from lampooning the devoted faithful who wore Islamic signs such long beards and women’s veil.
Somaliland Islamist sympathizers have become bold since the UIC militias have taken over swathes of land in the South. Sheikh Ali Warsame, one of the most influential clerics in Buora and former head of the Al Ittihad Al Islami, has recently left for Mogadishu, raising a lot of suspicion about his objectives.
Warsame, who is the brother-in-law of Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the strongman of the UIC, might be the familiar religious figure from Somaliland to join the UIC
On Somalia Islamic Courts
The Hargeisa clerics hailed the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) for their positive achievements and for applying the Islamic Sharia, but warned them against any attempts to destabilize Somaliland.
“We praise the Islamic Courts in Somalia for their good achievements such restoring peace and their call for the application of the Sharia but we warn them against interfering in the internal affairs of Somaliland and disturbing its long preserved peace and stability,” they said.
Both statements also urged the Somaliland government to release detained clerics and to form an independent committee to investigate torture allegations against them.
This was in reference to a recent video footage that showed a man claimed to be Mohammed Sheikh Ismail, a cleric, being beaten by men with Somaliland police uniform.
The Somaliland government dismissed the video as fake but admitted that the cleric was waiting for trial for being involved in explosives found in Hargeisa during the parliamentary elections in September 2005.